The pharmacological treatment of chronic pain differs from acute pain management. In chronic non-cancer pain patients pharmacological treatment is only one element of an interdisciplinary approach. Not pain reduction only but gain in physical and social functioning is mandatory for continuation of therapy. The developpement of a strategy is the most important and difficult step toward an individual and sustained pharmacological pain treatment. Simple practical guidelines can help to find an individual therapeutic straight. Outcome parameters have to be determined. Check-ups for discontinuation of the therapy have to be done periodically. Exact documentation of effect and side effects prevents ungrateful and potential dangerous treatments. The WHO ladder remains the cornerstone of pharmacological pain treatment. Further analgesics as antidepressants and anticonvulsants are important in treatment of neuropathic or mixed pain states. Special considerations have to be done in opioid treatment of non-cancer pain regarding the lack of evidence in long term outcome and possible side effects and risks.
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